Sometimes it feels like this voyaging life is nothing but a long string of emotionally draining good byes.
People often like to say that it isn’t really “goodbye” but more of a “see you again” but that is nothing more than a play of words to pacify the heart. Sure the world is a small place, and yes we have managed to run into/find again some of the great folks we made friends with. But for the most part when I watch a boat full of people I consider friends sail off into the horizon chances are it will be the last time we ever actually see them.
And then there are the people we met ashore. When you travel like we do, tending to spend more than just a few days or a week in certain spots, you get to know the locals. The Barman that always has a warm hand shake, a smile and a kind word; the lady who owns the local store who shares family recipes; the girls at the boatyard office that keep a watchful eye on me when Steve is gone; the generous ex-pat who welcomes us to his family dinner table; the guys that own the café we always go to and the woman in the kitchen who sends me off with a container full of her delicious pate when we finally depart.
And those goodbyes are difficult because you know if you could somehow return those people would still be there to greet you, it would be like coming home. But that is not how the story goes. The seasons change, the weather threatens and we sail on.
Sometimes it feels like I should to seal myself off, to not engage people too deeply or invest too much of my heart in such fleeting relationships. But that tactic would require detaching from the whole experience of travel, so it rarely works for more than a rainy day or so. Sometimes I think that because we say goodbye so often it will inevitably get easier. But of course if doesn’t.
The only thing left to do is wear that string of goodbyes like the beautiful necklace it is, each person a gem and a sparkling reminder of the times we shared.